21 June 1994
The third test on a P230 solid booster for the European Ariane 5 launcher took place on Monday 20 June 1994 at 19:05 hrs, Paris time, on its test stand at the Guyana Space Centre, the European spaceport at Kourou in French Guiana.
This test (M3) follows two previous tests: the B1 with the booster in "heavy" configuration of 16 February 1993, and the M1 which took place on 25 June 1993. M1 was the first test with the booster in "near- flight" configuration, whereas M3 test has been carried out in "flight" configuration. Four more tests are foreseen before the maiden flight of Ariane 5 (Ariane 501) in late 1995.
The first indications are that the test went well; an initial report will be issued in the coming days, after the booster has been thoroughly inspected.
The Ariane 5 launcher will be fitted with two P230 boosters, each 30 m high and containing 237 t of propellant grain in three segments. Each booster has a thrust of 540 t, equal to that of the most powerful Ariane 4 (the Ariane 44l version), which makes it the most powerful booster ever built in Europe.
This test was run under the responsibility of Europropulsion (a firm jointly owned by BPD Difesa e Spazio, of Italy, and the French Societe Europeenne de Propulsion). CNES (the French Space Agency) designed the test-stand and was in charge of carrying out the test. The P230 solid booster forms part of ESA's Ariane 5 programme, the prime contractorship of which ESA has delegated to CNES.